We aim to make our neighbourhoods greener and cleaner places to live and to assist our residents to live more sustainable lifestyles. We are particularly interested in projects which involve local people in improving spaces and encouraging greener lifestyle choices such as growing their own vegetables or recycling.
Case study: Through Our Eyes Photography Project - Rayleigh
Hayley Elizabeth Photography
To engage with children living in and around the Essex Close area of Rayleigh and to involve them in positive activity through the use of photography, helping them view their neighbourhood in a more positive and respectful way.
Children aged eight to 13 had a chance to learn photography, which they may not otherwise have had due to financial or accessibility constraints.
Hayley Elizabeth Photography delivered four workshops in the space of a week, culminating in an exhibition at Christ Church United Reform Church showcasing the children’s photos.
Rayleigh offered some great photographic opportunities for the youngsters, who were able to experiment with different camera angles and techniques as they took pictures of its 200-year-old windmill, 18th-century Dutch cottage and Mount nature reserve.
Families and friends then joined the children at the exhibition to celebrate their success.
As well as helping them explore their neighbourhood and learn new skills, the project gave the children the chance to express themselves creatively and make new friends in a relaxed and safe environment.
Children spoke of an increase in confidence since taking part and also expressed a keen interest in getting involved in similar activities within their neighbourhood.
Parents said their children were inspired by the workshops and that they would like to see more opportunities like this being offered to them.
I loved taking photos of nature and flowers and getting out and exploring new parts of the neighbourhood.
I have really enjoyed doing this project, I loved taking nature pictures. Also, I have made some new friends
It allowed my grandson to try something different while making new friends. It also got him off his computer and outside.
It’s hugely beneficial – they learn more about the area they live, they are outdoors and it’s creative
Sophie, 13, is extremely shy and was initially hesitant about joining the workshops. But she found some reassurance after hearing more about the course and seeing some of the previous photographs.
Sophie said she would feel more confident knowing someone else taking part, so signed up with her friend Mia, aged nine, who lives across the road from her.
The girls were visibly relaxed by the ‘ice-breaker’ games played at the start of each workshop and both Sophie and Mia attended the whole course and exhibition.
Sophie’s feedback after the course was that she made lots of new friends, enjoyed learning a new skill and was excited to receive a DVD of all the pictures she had taken.